Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
Bills are the favorites. Followed by Miami, then us. If everything goes well, the Pats can challenge. Cam HAS TO throw for 20+ TD passes for the team to be successful.
Edelman might not make it out of camp and you're counting on him. he's old and coming off surgeryRight now, Buffalo is still the favorite to win the division. The only way New England can flip that is by significantly upgrading at quarterback. You can read a lot of fans trying to talk themselves into believing Newton really wasn't all that bad, it was more about the lack of weapons. As much as Newton's supporting cast was pathetic, and as much as they may have improved with the FA acquisitions, Newton is a washed up stiff who would make the '89 49ers look bad. Two breakout hopefuls at TE and two middling WR's aren't going to compensate for Newton's limitations as a passer.
Will New England have the best defense in the division? Probably. Special teams? Sure but whatever. Best running game? Ok, maybe. Coaching staffs? It's legitimately debatable, McDermott is no fool, and there's no better OC & QB duo in the NFL right now than Daboll & Allen.
However, here's where you come across the biggest difference maker...
QB: Cam Newton
WR: Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers & Julian Edelman
TE: Hunter Henry & Jonnu Smith
QB: Josh Allen
WR: Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders, Gabriel Davis & Cole Beasley
TE: Dawson Knox & Jacob Hollister
Check mark at TE for New England for sure, but at WR and especially at QB, Buffalo has a big enough of an advantage that it'll make up the difference and then some.
If New England wants to contend for the division next year then they need an upgrade at quarterback. Otherwise with Newton their ceiling is 10 wins, which is Buffalo's floor. So, as it stands now, Buffalo is still a strong favorite to win the division, because of practically one position.
I don’t know about “ overachieved last year,” but they will now have to prove what every other franchise that becomes successful has to prove, which is much less cap room, losing good-great players to free agency, losing coaches and FO to other franchises, and drafting 28-32 in each round instead of 1-6. This is their new reality, Belichick has dealt with these realities for 20+ years and has still been incredibly successful, but only a handful of other franchises have been able to maintain success once those factors are in place. The Bill’s are under much better management, but those are still difficult conditions to deal with, only time will tell if they can deal with it.I actually expect the Bills to take a step back this year and be fighting for a playoff spot not the bye. They overachieved last year and now have the pressure of being one of the better teams with a QB that other teams will use as a measuring stick. I think the Pats can split with them and its the games against Miami that will determine the division winner. I would say too close to call right now lets see what the draft brings. Either way should be an entertaining year that comes down to the wire and thats all I ever hope for.
And that doesn't make you any less of a fan than Cam's supporters. We all saw how bad he was last year.Buffalo. Until QB is actually fixed we can’t expect the Patriots to win the division. I love what they have done in free agency, and I think they are a better team now than last season’s version, but unless Newton suddenly turns back into an MVP caliber player it’s hard to expect success.
Let’s run all the time and NA being #1 isn’t as important. Furthermore, the TEs should eat up receptions in this offense, making NA more of a 1b anyways.We are better but when Nelson Agholor is your number 1 WR, you have problems. Brady isn’t there to make him look like a pro bowler
10-6 first or second round exit unless we draft waddle or find a better QB
What your summary shows is the patriots have built an excellent team that will be held back by the worst QB in the league.My AFC East Rankings By Units (order from best to worst):
QB - Buffalo (Allen), NY Jets (Darnold), Miami (Tagovaila), and New England (Newton).
Basically, it's Allen...and everyone else is a distant 2nd...Tago..not enough reps yet to be ranked #2....Darnold just has more experience. Newton needs to bounce back....his upside is #2 in the division even if the Jets "upgrade" to Wilson.
RB - Patriots, Bills, NY Jets, and Miami.
Harris/Michel/White is a nice combo. Followed by Singletary/Moss...followed by Tevin Coleman who I think is underrated...followed by Myles Gaskin.
WR - Buffalo, NY Jets, Miami, and New England
Hard to argue with Diggs/Sanders/Beasley (and Davis who I think is some good). The Jets have Corey Davis, Mims, Crowder, and Keenan Cole...nice combo. The Fish still have Parker/Preston Williams..and will get Fuller later in the season. The Patriots are close behind the Fish and the Jete at least with Edelman, Agholor, Bourne, Meyers, Harry, and Olszewski. I'd argue that the Pats have the best depth between #2-#5 WR....just no true #1...depending on Edelman's health...but they aren't far behind the Bills with Diggs being the only difference maker.
TE - Patriots, Dolphins, Bills, and NY Jets
Hard to beat Henry, Smith, Asiasi, Keene, and even LaCosse. Miami has Gesicki who I think is solid. Bills have Knox and old friend Hollister (who is somewhat decent, IMO). Jete have Herndon who didn't play much the last two years...plus Kroft as a back up.
OL - New England, Buffalo, Miami, and NY Jets.
It's really the Patriots...then the Bills a distant 2nd...then the Fish/Jete a distant 3rd....
DL - Buffalo, New England, Miami, and NY Jets
I think the Patriots' improvements along the DL in free agency has put them back in the conversation for the best DL in the AFC East...but for now...the nod goes to the Bills...with the Fish/Jete a distant 3rd.
LB - Patriots, Bills, Jets, and Miami
Hightower and KVN? Possibly Micah Parsons in the draft....either way...the Pats have upgraded massively here and have the best in the AFC East. The Bills are still close behind though....with the Jete/Fish a distant 3rd again.
Secondary - Patriots, Bills, Miami, and NY Jets.
The Bills have the best CB in White, IMO....but the Pats counter with Gilmore who could bounce back to top form...then the Pats just have all kinds of depth...including a solid #2 CB, the best slot CB in the NFL, and an incredible safety room with DMac/Dugger/Phillips...not to mention guys like Mills/JJWill/etc... Miami has Xavien Howard....and the Jets have Maye....
ST Units - Patriots, Bills, Miami, and NY Jets
The Pats definitely have the best coverage units, best punter, and a budding returner who seemed to get better as the year wore on. The Bills have the best kicker in Bass, IMO...and overall solid units. The Fish and the Jete are a distant 3rd again.
Summary: The Patriots are better everywhere than their AFC East counterparts other than at QB, WR, DL, and LB. For DL/LB...I think our free agency upgrades and eventual draft depth will make these units the best in the division. For WR, we need to draft a star that can out play Diggs.....a tall order...otherwise...I am OK with a 100% Edelman as our best #1 guy. QB....if Cam bounces back to at least his 2018 level...I feel comfortable predicting that he will have better #'s than Tua in year 1.5 and Wilson in year 1. Josh Allen is going to be the best QB in the division for 2021 no matter what happens, IMO.
Agholor is your #1 in theory. He's likely going to be your 2nd or 3rd , sometimes 4th receiving option on some plays. He's not going to command 12 targets a game...more like 7-8. Passing game is going to be focused on attacking the middle of the field. Even if Agholor replicates his season last year (on an offense that also featured TE as target #1) it's a W. 50 receptions 900 YDS 8 TDs on an offense with Jonnu Smith , Hunter Henry, James White , Julian Edelman, Kendrick Bourne,Meyers and maybe Keene Harry and Asiasi. That would be awesome considering the target share and the assumed run first strategy.
Also worthy to note Agholor can also play out of the slot and isn't nessecarily limited to just playing outside the hash.
We are debating about players on paper. I think Diggs is a great wide receiver but I don't think he alone makes the bills leaps and bounds better than the pats. Our tightends collectively have a chance to impact the outcome of games more than diggs does alone. Especially because of their contributions to the run game as well.